Two nights after SummerSlam 2017, Bobby Roode debuted on SmackDown Live. It wasn't his first time in a WWE ring, but it was the pinnacle of a journey nearly two decades in the making. Bobby Roode has the talent and ability to win a WWE Championship some day, though there have been plenty who came before him with similar talents that never reached their potential.
The company signed Roode in 2016 for the sole purpose of having him work in NXT. Much like when the company signed Kevin Owens, there was no initial desire to have him on the main roster. Just like with Kevin Owens however, Roode impressed the right people in WWE enough that they couldn't resist bringing him up to the main roster. Triple H originally wanted Roode to be the "NXT flagship guy" since others like Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura had been called away to the main roster.
16 months after signing his NXT contract, Roode made a surprise debut on SmackDown, defeating Aiden English. He's a nearly 20-year veteran, a former NXT and TNA Champion, and could be a future WWE Champion. Here are 15 shocking things you didn't know about SmackDown Live's newest Superstar, "The Glorious" Bobby Roode! Enjoy.
15 Was Named "Total Lee" Awesome
Bobby Roode's first wrestling name was "Total Lee" Awesome. As in "Totally Awesome".
It should be noted that Bobby Roode grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, which also happens to be where Edge and Christian are from. When Roode was starting his training, Edge and Christian were becoming big time stars. Roode must have figured since he was from the same general area as the two, perhaps a similar gimmick might work out for him. He even had the bleach blonde hair for a period.
Somewhere along the line, somebody must have smartened him up and told him to go with a different name because the shelf life of the one he chose was not going to be very long. He eventually just decided to go with his real name, Robert Roode, and eventually adopting his current Bobby Roode name and persona.
14 Trained By Val Venis
Bobby Roode started his training at the age of 21 in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He was trained by fellow Canadian wrestlers Sean Morely, aka Val Venis, and Shane Sewell, a Puerto Rican based wrestler who just might show up on Global Force Wrestling shortly.
Venis is six years older than Roode and so by the time Roode started his training, Venis had already been wrestling for three years. He had been trained by the Missing Link and had wrestled with Sewell in the WWC promotion in Puerto Rico. By the time Roode would finish his training, however, Venis got the call from WWE and adopted his adult star gimmick.
Seeing his trainer get the call to WWE must have made it seem like such an easy goal to accomplish for Roode. His journey to the WWE would be far less smooth though.
13 Worked As A WWE Enhancement Talent
From 2002 to 2004, Bobby Roode wrestled a handful of times in a WWE ring. He lost all 17 matches.... His defeats came to guys like Al Snow, Sean O'Haire and Billy Kidman. Roode would also form tag teams with other jobbers and lose to 3-Minute Warning, the FBI or Rosey and The Hurricane.
He didn't just lose to members of WWE's roster however, he would wrestle other guys in tryout matches, and he lost all of those matches too. Loses included wrestlers like Eric Young, Tyson Dux and Ryu Sakoda. 17 matches and 17 losses. If you don't count his NXT career, Roode finally got his first WWE victory on SmackDown, two nights after SummerSlam 2017 when he defeated Aiden English.
In 2004, John Laurinaitis advised Roode to take the contract TNA was offering him because there wasn't a spot on the WWE roster for him, looking back, he made the right decision taking the deal and making a name for himself.
12 Beer Money Have Held TNA Tag Titles More Days Than Anyone
The tag team of Bobby Roode and James Storm have held the TNA Tag Team Championships more days than any other team in company history.
Roode and Storm, collectively known as Beer Money, have held the titles on five occasions for a grand total of 514 days as champions. The next highest team on that list still trails them by 101 days, as the Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) have held the titles for 413 days. Nobody is even close after those two, the Hardy Boyz rank in at number three with only 205 days spent as champions.
Beer Money became a main event level tag team in TNA, to the point that sometimes the division felt more important than the World Title picture. The team also won the TNA championship series in 2010 and the Team 3D Invitational tournament in 2009.
11 Hasn't Spoken To James Storm Since Leaving TNA
While there doesn't appear to be any jealousy or bitterness on either side, the members of Beer Money have apparently not spoken to each other since Roode left TNA for NXT. Late last year, Roode was asked about his former partner and stated that he hasn't talked to him since he left TNA.
James Storm was asked about Bobby Roode earlier this summer as well and said he was happy for him and there was no jealousy or bitter feelings. Unless Roode and Storm have spoken to each other recently and not mentioned it, the two teammates are still estranged.
It's weird that two people who formed such an important tag team for so long would not stay in contact with each other when they began working in different promotions.
10 Booker T Told Him To Cut His Hair
Booker T worked in TNA from 2007 to 2010. During that time he had a big rivalry with Bobby Roode. According to Booker, he also gave Roode some memorable advice during this time. In an interview he gave earlier this summer, Booker T stated he was the one who told Bobby Roode to cut his long hair.
Apparently, Booker told Roode that he had the look of a World Champion, but the whole mullet thing he was doing at the time was preventing his star from shining. Good thing Booker never saw him dressed up as Total Lee Awesome with bleached blonde hair. Booker probably wouldn't have thought he looked like a World Champion with that hair either...
Roode would cut his hair and a year after Booker T left the company, Bobby Roode won his first World Championship. Brutus Beefcake is smiling somewhere...
9 He Studies Mr. Perfect Matches
Bobby Roode picked a good role model to emulate, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. Roode has said that he studied footage of Curt Hennig and that he was a big inspiration for him to get into wrestling. In a podcast interview he gave earlier this summer, Roode said he has about 12 hours of Curt Hennig footage that he still watches all the time. He could just type "Mr. Perfect" into the WWE Network, but perhaps Roode just likes his old school methods.
While Roode's moveset is different than Hennig's was, you can see the influence Hennig had on his style.
He was also asked who his dream WrestleMania opponent would be, and he said it would have been against Mr. Perfect but unfortunately, that can never be. Roode then said wrestling John Cena at a WrestleMania would be something he would love to do.
8 He Studied To Be A Corrections Officer
Roode might have idolized Curt Hennig growing up, but he prepared to go into a line of work often associated with one of Mr. Perfect's greatest rivals. Just as the Big Bossman had done before him, Roode was studying to be a corrections officer.
Roode has since said that he had absolutely zero interest in becoming a corrections officer but just needed a job while he chased his wrestling dream. It doesn't appear he ever ended up working in the role. Roode didn't have trouble getting booked in his career, as once he was trained in 1998, he worked pretty consistently up until 2004 when TNA signed him. It doesn't really seem like he needed another job.
It's a good thing he never did work as a corrections officer or else Vince McMahon might try to dress him up as a next generation Big Bossman.....
7 He Formed "The Dirty Heels" With Austin Aries
Outside of his team with James Storm, Bobby Roode has only won tag team gold with one other partner, Austin Aries.
Since both Aries and Roode were heels at the time, they came up with the highly descriptive team name, The Dirty Heels. If you don't remember this, it's because it happened in TNA during 2015 and few were watching at the time. The team only wrestled five matches (four in TNA and one at House of Hardcore), and four of those were against the team of Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards. The other match was a two-on-one handicap match against Matt Hardy.
Since both Bobby Roode and Austin Aries are great wrestlers, and both Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards are great as well, their series of matches were widely praised. The feud concluded when the Wolves retained their Tag Titles over the Dirty Heels at House of Hardcore XI.
6 WWE Believes He Has "Top" Potential
If recent rumors turn out to be true, then WWE feels Bobby Roode can be a top guy. Current speculation is that SmackDown's Baron Corbin dropped the ball to make WWE officials question their confidence in putting him at the top of the card. The speculation continues that Bobby Roode was called up from NXT because Vince and Triple H feel confident enough they can put him in big matches against the main event guys on SmackDown.
Strengthening the belief in this rumor is that the fact that for two weeks in a row, they've portrayed Bobby Roode has a top babyface, giving him two near-squash matches on television in a row. Assuming Bobby Roode is about to be pushed to the moon, this run will be the pinnacle of what has been a nearly two-decade long journey.
5 Deemed Too Expensive For TNA
According to reports from the Pro Wrestling Insider, the reason Bobby Roode ended up leaving TNA after a 12-year run with the company was that he had become too expensive for them.
Roode was one of the highest paid wrestlers in the company during 2016 when his contract was up. As TNA's financial situation last year was dire, it is believed they were not in a position to continue paying him what they had been. While it's also believed that Roode and TNA agreed verbally to a new deal, Roode eventually decided to accept an offer to go else where and join NXT instead.
It was also reported that TNA had fallen behind in paying Roode and that led to difficulties between the two sides, though TNA did catch up on what they owed him. Roode's longtime friend, Eric Young left for WWE at the same time as well.
4 His "Glorious" Theme Music Was Originally Meant for Nakamura
Bobby Roode's epic theme music deserves some credit for what Roode has been able to accomplish in NXT and what he has done in the short time he's been on SmackDown Live. That song truly is glorioussssss!
Turns out the song was actually meant for Nakamura. Instead, Shinsuke Nakamura let WWE know he didn't feel the song suited him well enough (he's correct about that) and decided to be very hands on with his entrance theme. Nakamura is said to have had a great deal of input into the music he now uses with his chilling entrance.
Another incident with the song took place with the Cruiserweights thinking that was going to be the theme music for the Cruiserweight Classic. Again, they were disappointed to learn the song was reserved for Roode.
3 He's 40 Years Old
You wouldn't know it looking at the guy, but Bobby Roode is 40 years old. There are several guys on the roster that are a decade and a half younger than him but not in half the shape however.
Roode has clearly put a fair amount of emphasis on training and conditioning. That was probably instilled in him as a youngster playing competitive hockey in Ontario. Canadians take youth hockey quite seriously and Roode would travel around the Province for both his high school and a local rep teams. This level of hockey requires early morning practices, suicide sprints, and levels of cardio that are entirely too strict for kids.
His conditioning and commitment to excellence in his craft are part of what has made him so well respected in the wrestling community.
2 Was ranked #2 By Pro Wrestling Illustrated In 2012
Every year around this time the wrestling magazine, Pro Wrestling Illustrated unveils their top 500 wrestlers from around the world.
Numerous factors go into a wrestlers ranking. Factors that go into the ranking include how highly ranked the wrestler is in their promotion, how frequently they wrestle, how often they win their matches and other factors are also considered.
The rankings are unveiled at the end of every summer. In the summer of 2012, Roode dropped the TNA Title he had held since October 2011 to Austin Aries. Having spent from the fall to the summer as the World Champion of TNA put him in a good spot to be ranked high on the list. In the end, PWI would only rank CM Punk ahead of Bobby Roode that year. John Cena came in at third that year and Daniel Bryan was fourth.
1 Longest Reigning TNA Champion Of All-Time
That title reign from the fall of 2011 to the summer of 2012 was the longest World Title run in the history of TNA. Considering the this is a championship belt held by names such as Kurt Angle, Sting, Jeff Hardy, Booker T, Mick Foley, A.J. Styles, Rob Van Dam and Bobby Lashley, that is saying something.
Roode originally won the title on an episode of Impact which aired on November 3rd, 2011. Fittingly, Roode defeated his former Beer Money teammate for the title, James Storm. It was Roode's first time holding the championship.
He wouldn't lose the belt until July 8th, 2012 at Destination X, where he would lose it to Austin Aries. Roode's 256-day reign with the belt passed A.J. Styles' 211-day reign with the strap.